Wednesday Night #2200

Written by  //  May 15, 2024  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2200

China-Russia relations
The Xi-Putin partnership is not a marriage of convenienceIt is one of vital, long-term necessity
Putin looks to use China trip to shore up economic support from Beijing amid renewed Western pressure
James Griffiths, Asia correspondent
A week after he was sworn-in for a record-breaking fifth term as president, Vladimir Putin is travelling to China to visit another leader who seems poised to rule for life, Xi Jinping, as both men continue to face down Western pressure to end their “no limits” partnership struck ahead of the war in Ukraine.
Defying West, Russia’s Putin due to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing

Not much encouraging news from Ukraine, thanks to the dithering of the US Congress over the aid package.
Ukrainian troops pull out of some areas and Zelenskyy postpones foreign trips amid Russian offensive
Antony Blinken’s visit may have helped; at least he announced on Wednesday an additional $2 billion worth of aid to Ukraine in what he called the defence enterprise fund, which will allow the embattled nation to increase weapons purchases and strengthen its defence-industrial base
Meanwhile, Putin backs China’s Ukraine peace plan, says Beijing understands the conflict

Israel, Palestine/Gaza/Hamas
We are not Bewitched, but definitely Bothered and Bewildered by the news that the Biden administration has told key lawmakers it plans to move forward on a new $1 billion sale of arms and ammunition to Israel. How can they, when Palestinians mark 76 years of their dispossession as more catastrophe unfolds in Gaza
Palestinians are marking 76 years of dispossession on Wednesday, commemorating their mass expulsion from what is today Israel, as a potentially larger catastrophe unfolds in Gaza where over a quarter of the population has been displaced by fighting in the last few days alone.
and the news of the assault on Rafah gets worse and worse.
How Biden defends supporting Israel amid Gaza war
“It’s wrong,” US President Joe Biden said last week of the ongoing Israeli offensive against the southern Gaza city of Rafah, pledging to stop supplying offensive weapons if the assault proceeds.
One week later, however, Israeli forces have seized the Rafah border crossing and pushed into the city, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering.
Israel’s war on Gaza live: 600k displaced from Gaza since May 6 – UN

On another continent, another disaster:
Sudan’s Masalit people are being butchered. Is the world watching?
Once again, the international community is struggling to find time for Sudan. The Biden administration marked the one year anniversary of the present war last month by issuing an executive order authorizing sanctions on Sudanese leaders — pretty weak tea. The UN authorized a factfinding mission in October 2023 that has been unable to carry out its mandate, while the World Food Programme’s appeal for aid for Sudan was only 5% fulfilled in February.

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico in life-threatening condition after being shot in a “politically motivated” assassination attempt when leaving a government meeting on Wednesday, the interior minister said. In case you don’t remember, Fico is a populist opposed to military aid to Ukraine Who is Robert Fico, the populist Slovak prime minister wounded in a shooting?

As millions begin voting in the fourth round of India’s mammoth election, we are reminded that Over 50 countries go to the polls in 2024. The year will test even the most robust democracies. From Russia, Taiwan and the United Kingdom to India, El Salvador and South Africa, the presidential and legislative contests have huge implications for human rights, economies, international relations and prospects for peace in a volatile world.
Europe: elections to watch in 2024

Wildfire season
While events around the world continue to be of great concern, the outbreak of wildfires and the absence of any sign of federal preparedness is top of the list for many Canadians. Without sounding flippant, it’s hard to worry about Gaza, let alone the country of Georgia, when headlines read Thousands face potential evacuations as wildfires continue to burn across Canada. An additional concern Wildfire smoke drifts across Canada, over parts of U.S., prompting air quality advisories
For some time, there has been -idle?- chatter about the need to form a national emergency response force. In June 2023, Ali Asgary, York Professor, Disaster & Emergency Management noted that “The Canadian government is reportedly contemplating creating a national FEMA-type emergency management agency in Canada” and in September, retired Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie wrote [the] Canadian military needs dedicated climate disaster force…Lives at risk because Canada has no rapid response. To date we have seen no signs of federal initiatives.

Thursday, 23 May
7 PM
Join the OSS to celebrate 25 years of separating sense from nonsense!
Josh Freed, will sit down with Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill OSS, for an entertaining conversation about how the Office for Science and Society came to be and some of the fun (and challenges) the Office has tackled over the last 25 years.
Leacock Building, Rm.132
Registration required.
This event is in-person only and not live-streamed.
It will, however, be recorded and made available for viewing afterward on our website.

Alice Munro, Nobel literature winner revered as short story master, dead at 92
Nobel laureate Alice Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history’s most honoured short story writers, has died.
Her death was a major news story internationally including in the WaPo, NYT, BBC and The Guardian:
Canadian short-story writer who won the Nobel prize in 2013 and was often likened to Chekhov and Guy de Maupassant

Rex Murphy died on Thursday May 9th at age 77 just one day after his column on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance on the Hamas atrocities of October 7 appeared on the front page of the print edition of the National Post.
His last column was published on May 7th.
Rex Murphy: Trudeau faced an essential moral test after Oct. 7. He failed it
Our loudly, proudly self-proclaimed first male-feminist prime minister was silent on the horrid tortures and rapes of Israeli women.
“Rex could not be held back,” said Rob Roberts, editor-in-chief of National Post. “He filed what turned out to be his last column on Monday, so driven was he to voice his support for Israel and Canada’s Jewish community.”

Andrew Caddell devotes this week’s column Today, the truth may not set you free to the disappearance of public debate based on genuine evidence, where facts and context matter. Instead, ideology and propaganda are overwhelming intelligent discourse. He cites examples ranging from the actions of the Legault government to UN statistics regarding deaths in Gaza.

Although the good news was announced after her departure from Chez Doris, there is no doubt that it was through the efforts of Marina Boulos that this was achieved.
Allison Hanes: Happy ending for Fulford Residence as Chez Doris acquires landmark
The sale not only secures the future of the building, it preserves its original mission while meeting a dire need for housing in Montreal.

Last week it was the Kentucky Derby photo finish – this week, the slower-paced finale of the Westminster Dog Show
Enjoy the delightful NYT photo essay
The Show Before the Show: Behind the Scenes at Westminster
Tuesday night – the Grand Finale
Sage, a Miniature Poodle, Wins Best in Show – wonderful, detailed coverage and pictures, plus the Comments are a must-read; sample: Sage is more than 75 percent hair. and our personal favorite: My grandmother had a (non-toy) poodle when I was little. He normally had normal hair, but once he got one of those pouffy haircuts beloved of show poodles, with the little balls of topiary everywhere. He was so embarrassed, he ran home and hid under the bed. The professionals don’t like the last comment, but I think it is funny.

Bloomberg City Lab has discovered Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie Meet the Montreal Mayor Who Declared War on SUVs
Oversized vehicles are devouring street parking spaces in the Canadian city. So one borough’s mayor is fighting back with bigger fees for hefty trucks and SUVs.

One of the best/most entertaining book reviews we have read
Kristi Noem’s dog killing is pure Southern gothic
A literary critic’s take on the South Dakota governor’s memoir, “No Going Back.”
Best line in the review …” Republican garden gnome Karl Rove”…

Chris Neal, recently returned from a birthday celebration in Nicaragua, treated last Wednesday Night’s participants to an exposé of the evolution of Central America’s gangs and governance over the years.
How El Salvador Destroyed Their Brutal Gangs Changes Everything! expands on the topic.

Long reads
Narendra Modi Is Preparing for a Thousand-Year Legacy
Interviews with dozens of government officials, childhood friends and former associates reveal how the prime minister’s core beliefs shape his decisions. (register to read)

Ian Bremmer: A message for those graduating in toxic times
Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a school where I teach a class on applied geopolitics, invited me to deliver this year’s commencement speech. It was a privilege – and a challenge – that I took very seriously.
The protesters were visible, creative, constructive, and respectful of the importance of the event for the graduates. They made themselves seen and heard, but they allowed everyone else to be seen and heard too. Read speech

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